Knowing how movement affects the body and mind can help students better manage their excitement – or nervousness – about going back to school.
These simple mind-body exercises are tools that students of every age and fitness ability can rely on throughout the school year to improve their focus, emotional and social well-being as well as their overall sleep quality.
A primer: Mindfulness for beginners
Mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. It begins with an awareness of breath. The only other requirements are willingness to try something new, enough space to extend your body and some lightweight props.
Instructions for three simple mind-body exercises
Mindfulness programming for kids
To help your students enjoy the benefits of mind-body exercise consider these recommendations
- Work in small groups: Instructing up to 6 students at a time means you’ll be able to provide specific feedback on their movements. It can be manage larger groups
- Use age-appropriate tools: start with the lightest weight props and build toward heavier ones as student’s comfort and confidence with mind-body exercise increases. See here for more details about mind-body equipment designed for young fitness enthusiasts
- Complement mindfulness with fun: Doing slightly different variations of traditional exercises or using cute names and images engages younger students in particular. For example, many respond well to similes: “standing like a tree”, “sitting like a frog”
- Identify role models: For older students, 12–18, pique interest in Pilates by identifying popular athletes or sports figures who make mind-body exercise part of their workout regimens
- Save the breath for last: Breathing exercises are a nice way to end the class and perhaps briefly reflect on mind-body exercises they’ve just learned
Wishing you a great start to the school year. If you have any other tips or exercises for kids that you would like to share, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.